Daredevil review, part tres!
This time around, we’re going to talk about the sidekick-that-isn’t, Foggy Nelson.
Unlike in the comics, this character’s name really is Foggy. In the comics, “Foggy” is a nickname, with his real name being “Franklin.” However, no one calls him by this in the show. It’s all Foggy, all the time.
Foggy is a doubter. A follower. He needs to latch onto someone else’s vision, and then he’ll be true to that vision until and unless shaken to his very core. Foggy is a good man who has followed his best friend into poverty. Foggy and Matt could have been with a large law firm and made a stable living. Instead, Matt talked Foggy into going it alone in order to help those less fortunate.
Foggy knows what he’s missed out on in making this decision: money, and everything that comes with it. He talks about money a lot, but because he is true to Matt’s vision, he doesn’t bolt. He stays, even when things get rough.
The actor who portrays foggy isn’t that known to me. And that’s okay. Foggy isn’t supposed to stand out. He’s supposed to be the background character, the foil, and Eldon Henson does this well enough. He portrays the awkwardness and earnestness of Foggy, and I found myself feeling for him.
You see Karen Page wanting to get closer to Matt because he’s handsome and mysterious and self-assured; you also see Foggy wanting to get closer to Karen because it looks like he’s never had a girl. A bit socially awkward, so he poured himself into other pursuits, and even followed a girl into taking a class in Punjabi in college… That’s Foggy.
He falls in love with Karen, but can’t see that she wants Matt, even though she spends a lot of time with the Foggster. When Karen hurts him (as does Matt), Foggy runs to an ex-girlfriend who works at the firm he and Matt left: a bombshell of a woman with no soul (Foggy’s words, not mine). It reminded me of American Pie: geek “loves” very pretty girl who’s out of his league, only to find he’s really in love with someone else; meanwhile, the very pretty girl loves geeks.
All hell breaks loose when Foggy finds out about Matt and his nighttime persona. This shakes Foggy to his core. This is where the dream of Nelson & Murdock almost dies. Foggy came to believe in something about the Man in the Mask, and when he finds out it’s Matt—something breaks. Something inside Foggy, and not just the friendship that was forged.
Things are awkward for a bit, but we’re nearing the third act, and things have to come crashing down on our hero hot and heavy, or else you won’t feel his struggle as much. He’s already had setback in his private life as the Man in the Mask, now comes the setback in his personal life with Foggy.
Foggy is about the law. He believes in the system. The Man in the Mask works outside that system, and Foggy is having trouble reconciling that with who he knows Matt to be. In the end, though, it comes down to trust and to friendship. As soon as Foggy tells the first lie to Karen, covering for Matt, he becomes Matt’s sidekick in truth. Matt knows his strengths, as well as Foggy’s. He loves his friend, and because he does, he gives Foggy top billing in the firm. He knows that Foggy is his sidekick, and has been since college. Foggy knows some of it, himself, even if he doesn’t want to consciously acknowledge it.
In the end, Foggy is a good, solid, stable character that helps to both anchor and balance Matt. Foggy is the Robin to Matt’s Batman: without him, Matt really is in the dark. That’s not something Matt can afford, and he knows it.